The last 4-5 days, starting with March 7 when the reviews started to come out, and ending with the posting of weekend estimates for domestic and international box office on March 11, have been enough to leave John Carter fans exhausted . There has been the unexpected pain of seeing reviewers split down the middle, (unexpected because Andrew Stanton’s track record with reviewers suggested a much higher acceptance rate), and the equal pain of seeing a weak opening box office result — paired with the exhilaration for many of getting to actually see the movie we’ve been waiting for.
Is the battle over — is it time to go back to being what we were before, which is lifelong ERB fans? Or is the battle still on for the success of the movie and the possibility of sequels?
Well, here at JCF the next thing we’re looking forward to is the release, later today, of box office actual figures, as opposed to studio estimates, which what the Sunday reporters are based on.
We will be looking for signs of a potentially strong hold, which is the only avenue remaining for John Carter to climb to a level of success that could generate a sequel.
The data already in suggest that JC had a strong “Saturday bump” in which it performed 25.4% ahead of the opening day figures, and that is usually a positive sign suggesting good word of mouth.
If indeed the Word of Mouth is gaining more than normal traction, there will be clues in the figures that are released today.
Just to refresh everyone’s memory — when Avatar was released the Sunday reports pegged it at $72M and the Monday actuals had to revise it to $77M.
That’s an extreme case and there is no reason to expect that anything like that is about to happen for John Carter. Could it edge upward past 31M? Yes. More importantly, could the Sunday figures, estimated at 8.5m, be revised north of 9m? They could, and if that were to happen it would be the best news yet.
But if they aren’t revised upward — what does the opening weekend performance mean?
The general consensus is that, absent an unusually strong hold, John Carter seems to be on track to turn in Prince of Persia numbers. What are those numbers?
Opening Weekend: 30.1M
Domestic Total: 90.6M
Foreign Total: $255M
Global Total: $335M
Those are disappointing numbers to be sure. However — there are some indications that the film might outperform Prince of Persia enough to get to a global box office of 400-450M.
The question is — do even the more aggressive predictions of up to 450m get the film into the range where a sequel is possible?
The fact is, the list of sequel-ready originals that did 400m at the global box office and did NOT generate a sequel is very short. As in — we can’t come up with one.
JC is supposedly a different case because the budget of 250m raises the bar.
But how much?
Another problem is simply one of image. Like it or not, John Carter has been branded a flop in the media and although there is now a second wave of mildly revisionist reporting coming out acknowledging the overseas strength and admitting it’s not a “bomb” …. it’s unclear whether this will be enough to change the narrative and the image of the film.
So what can fans do?
First, go see it again and drag some friends along. Not just one — try to get a group together. Out of that group, there will be some who will be stunned at how good it is and they in turn will go see it again.
Secondly, tweet about it, blog about it, talk about it on Facebook.
So far the best tools for getting people interested in seeing the movie seem to be …well, our fan trailers. Post them to your Facebook wall, and/or post them to twitter.
Here are the URLs. If you simply copy/paste these URLs onto your Facebook wall, or into a twitter post, the video will embed, then write a short note.
John Carter Fan Trailer 1
John Carter Fan Trailer 2
We will be back with more thoughts and analysis after the actuals come out.